Colorado: Losing Medicaid? Here's what you need to know about transitioning to marketplace coverage

via Connect for Health Colorado:

Colorado’s Marketplace Offers Free Enrollment Help and Low-Cost Health Plans

DENVER— For the first time in more than three years, Coloradans who are no longer eligible for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) will start to lose their coverage.

Why Coloradans Might Lose Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program)

This change was the result of federal legislation passed in winter of 2022: the Omnibus bill, otherwise known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act. It included a provision to end the requirement for states to keep individuals covered by Medicaid during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. 

The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) estimates that more than 325,000 current members will no longer be eligible for Health First Colorado coverage following their annual eligibility review. These eligibility reviews will be done in the anniversary month of when the person enrolled.

Keeping Coloradans Covered Through the Marketplace

People who lose Health First Colorado or CHP+ coverage will have a Special Enrollment Period through July 31, 2024 to sign up for other health coverage. Other health coverage options could include health insurance through a job, getting coverage through another family member’s plan, or buying a plan using Connect for Health Colorado.

“As people begin to lose Medicaid again, we’re ramping up our joint efforts with State partners, community partners, and our enrollment network to keep Coloradans covered,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “When you find out you need new health coverage, contact Connect for Health Colorado right away. We’ll walk you step-by-step through the application and ensure you get all the financial help you qualify for.”

Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official health insurance marketplace and the only place where residents can qualify for financial help, estimates that between 3 and 10 percent of people who lose Health First Colorado coverage and are eligible for Marketplace coverage will enroll during the 14-month Special Enrollment Period. That’s roughly 5,800 to 19,300 projected health insurance enrollments. The Marketplace will be providing updates about Medicaid to Marketplace enrollment conversions and ongoing outreach efforts at its public board meetings.

As of June 1, 2023, nearly 220,000 people have used Connect for Health Colorado to enroll in a health insurance plan for coverage this year. Nearly 3 out of 4 customers are receiving financial help.

For Coloradans Losing Health First Colorado

Here’s practical advice for Coloradans who find themselves at risk of losing their Health First Colorado coverage and in need of affordable health insurance:

Make sure your Health First Colorado profile has the most up-to-date information. The State of Colorado will assess whether you still qualify for health coverage based on your information, so make sure it is accurate.

Pay special attention to any letters you get in your online account or in the mail from the State of Colorado, so you don’t miss the notice telling you if you still qualify, and if not, when your coverage is ending. Connect for Health Colorado will also contact people losing Health First Colorado through direct emails and outbound phone calls to encourage them to apply and direct them to enrollment assistance.

You are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for a health insurance plan through July 2024, but the sooner you enroll, the sooner your new coverage begins. You can also enroll as early as 60 days prior to the end of your Health First Colorado coverage to make sure you don’t have a gap in coverage.

Contact a Certified Enrollment Assister or Broker in your community to figure out the health insurance plans and financial help available. This is a good option for people who need help figuring out their Special Enrollment Period, need help applying, or who want help picking a plan. Brokers and Assisters offer free assistance year-round virtually and in-person.

Don’t assume health insurance is out of your budget. You can qualify for low-cost and $0 plans when you enroll with Connect for Health Colorado. Currently, an individual with an income of less than $19,400 per year and a family of four with an income of less than $40,000 per year can qualify for Health First Colorado. If you make more than those income thresholds, you could qualify for financial help to lower the cost of your health insurance premiums on Connect for Health Colorado.  In fact, 2 out of 3 customers can find a plan for $25 per month or less. You might also qualify for even more savings on things like copays and prescriptions based on your income.  

Go here to find an Assister or Broker in your community. You can also apply and enroll in a plan during your Special Enrollment Period by calling the Customer Service Center at 855-752-6749.